We went via Colorado down 84 because my husband thought he might want to see Los Almos (but it got late and he changed his mind). I’m glad went this way because the landscape was so different and we passed some things I was glad to see. The first thing we stopped for was Wilson Arch, which had a place to pull over on the highway to take photos.
Along the way we saw ruins at the Canyon of the Ancients National Monument. The trail by the museum was completely, beautifully accessible all the way to the top where the ruins were and even had little wheelchair platform places next to the periodic benches for resting along the trail. There were lots of signs identifying local plants and animals and their cultural significance along the trail and a lovely view next to the ruins on top. A little museum with displays of artifacts and a lovely, well labeled garden outside. Charming place. The ramp in the parking lot to the sidewalk is hard to see but it is there.
One thing we passed on that road, but might go back for next time was Ghost Ranch– a place Georgia O’Keefe spent time working.
The Georgia O’Keefe Studio in Abiquiu was sadly closed for covid. We went up to take a peek. Not a good RV road, also confusing little series of dirt driveway/roads. I plan to go back in a car when it is open. If you want to go after covid times book ahead.
Locals told us there were so many nearby native american communities to visit and invited us to come back when covid was over and they were open.
When you think of classic Santa Fe, you want to go to the old Plaza and stay in a hotel within walking distance if you can. The rest of the city is kinda normal- lots of strip malls and similar. Lyfts and cabs aren’t really a thing there. No operating cab companies we could find and only three Lyft drivers for the whole town. A lot of the hotels have shuttles operating within a couple miles of the plaza though. When we got into town we stopped for dinner at Jambo. This place is unassuming, in a strip mall, not the pretty part of town, but was very much on our way to the RV park and it came highly recommended by a foodie friend and was in someone’s top ten of Santa Fe list. It is African/Bahamas fusion and was absolutely delicious take out.
After my husband lost sleep in Moab, we decided the covid numbers were low enough in Santa Fe that we could ditch the RV at Los Suenos RV (basically a parking lot in the less nice part of town) for the next two nights to stay in La Posada, a lovely (rather expensive) hotel in a traditional building. There were other similar hotels for a bit less. The room they put us in was not actually accessible to get into (my husband had to help me around the slope/curb) and inside the rooms definitely not (tiny arches). Thankfully I can walk a little so I just parked the chair inside the room and could walk through the doors. It was lovely though. Note: if you stay there don’t light the fire in the room, however tempting. It will smoke the whole place up badly. The hotel’s restaurant had a lovely outdoor courtyard with live music where we had cocktails before bed and breakfast each day.
Santa Fe is not the best town for wheelchair accessibility. Lots of old buildings are grandfathered in. The lovely Canyon Road, known as the heart of Santa Fe, where all the galleries are has maybe three galleries you can enter with a wheelchair and the sidewalks are… not functional. You are better off dodging cars in the street than trying the sidewalks. Still worth a look though because the area is so much the heart of Santa Fe.
The Plaza does have a lot of stores you can get into though, and the area has some lovely churches to tour. The San Miguel Mission is billed as the oldest church in the US, though it was closed when we went- not sure how accessible it it. The “Oldest House” right next door is not accessible inside, but it is good to get a look from the outside.
If you like ceramics, don’t miss the Andrea Fisher gallery right by the plaza, totally accessible. It had a well curated collection of gorgeous pottery from many different artists and tribes, with a huge range of techniques and styles (speaking as a professional artist with a ceramics background).
Another thing to do and see is the Santa Fe School of Cooking. They have classes (sign up ahead!) and a lovely shop with spices, ingredients, cooking tools, and of course some great cookbooks (not all of which are online despite what they say).
We went to Santacafe for lunch on the recommendation of a friend who lives there. It was excellent and accessible (best from the back). After lunch, we were informed by various people that we must have hot chocolate “elixir” from Kakawa chocolate. It did not disappoint and I think I left with half the store.
For dinner we went to Geronimo. Geronimo was also excellent, and we put the wheelchair as a note in our reservation. They had a table on the edge for me (easiest seat to get into) and a special ramp ready. It was on Canyon Road maybe 15 min walk/roll from the main old downtown square.
If you want to go to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum or Meow Wolf (immersive art experience), BOOK AHEAD. For O’Keefe, three months in advance is suggested. I didn’t realize this, so we couldn’t go to O’Keefe. With Covid and the high-touch, close-quarters environment I wasn’t comfortable going to Meow Wolf in covid times. I intend to go bacj though. We did go to the O’Keefe Museum gift shop in the annex, which was easily accessible.
Another place I didn’t go (but have been to pre sick/wheelchair) is Ten Thousand Waves. I wasn’t going to go during covid, so I can’t speak to accessibility, but I can say from a previous trip that it is lovely and amazing- stargazing from a hot tub on a mountaintop is my main memory.
All in all, despite accessibility hiccups, Santa Fe is a lovely town we will visit again. All the locals say the best time is in November when there are festivals. When we went in May it was perfect weather- warm but not scorching… but don’t forget your sunscreen! I did one day on just my legs and 9 days later I still look like a lobster.